Written by Amanda Presler
Part of National Nutrition Month 2013
You might be familiar with garbanzo beans, also know as chickpeas, but did you know all you can do with them? Because they are legumes, chickpeas are a great source of protein and fiber! One serving of chickpeas provides you with just 120 calories. 20 grams of carbs, 6 grams of fiber (24% of your daily fiber intake!), 6 grams of protein to keep you feeling full AND 10% of your daily iron intake are all packed into this single serving! Furthermore, chickpeas contain many unsaturated essential amino acids, including linoleic and oleic acids. Riboflavin, niacin, thiamin and folate are examples of vitamins also contained in chickpeas that are so important in the diet. When eaten as part of your regular healthy diet, chickpeas can help prevent diseases such as type 2 diabetes, cardiovascular disease, digestive problems, and even potentially some cancers. As an added bonus, a can of chickpeas costs about a dollar at the grocery store so you won’t break the bank stocking up!
Give your recipes a fun, healthy twist by using chickpeas! I recently used a recipe with chickpeas to make super easy gluten-free cookies. Blended chickpeas, honey, peanut butter and some other ingredients were combined to substitute for gluten-producing flour. The peanut butter and honey served as binding agents holding the processed chickpeas together in substitution of typical cookie ingredients! Throw in some peanuts or chocolate chips and you have a gluten-free cookie that doesn’t have to taste gluten-free!
Chickpea cookie recipe:
A couple notes: I’ve also used less chickpeas (even ½ cup) and they turned out great! Also try adding 1 Tbs of brown sugar, and experiment with chocolate chips, chopped peanuts, shredded coconut, or toss in another ingredient you might want to try!
Chickpeas are also great tossed into a salad as a protein source, pureed into hummus (where you can add other ingredients such as roasted red pepper), or even just cooked and served as a side dish. The taste of chickpeas goes well with a wide variety of other foods, so the possibilities are endless!
Here are a few links to some chickpea recipes:
I hope this post will inspire you to get creative and find ways to incorporate chickpeas into some of your everyday recipes. Be sure to let me know some ways that you’re using your chickpeas!
Jukanti, A.K., Gaur, P.M., Gowda, C.L., Chibbar, R.N., “Nutritional quality and health benefits of chickpea (Cicer arietinum L.): a review.,” British Journal of Nutrition, vol. 108, 16 pages, 2012. Retrieved from: http://journals.cambridge.org.ezproxy.lib.vt.edu:8080/action/displayAbstract?fromPage=online&aid=8675336.